Marc Meyers is a writer-director whose previous works include Harvest, featuring the late Robert Loggia; and Approaching Union Square, set on a NYC bus. In his latest feature, How He Fell in Love, opening Friday, August 5, 2016 at the Kingsway Theatre, Meyers returns to the clogged congestion of Manhattan to explore the complicated emotions of an affair.
“[The intense intimacy] was one of the goals of the film,” Meyers said from a car in Ohio, where he’s on location for his newest feature, currently in preproduction. How He Fell in Love centres on the relationship between Travis (Matt McGorry), a 30-something underemployed musician; and Ellen (Amy Hargreaves), a married yoga instructor in her mid-40s. According to Meyers, the movie in large part explores “…two people who don’t have to care about the outside world while they’re in hotel rooms.”
Travis and Ellen meet at a wedding of Travis’s ex-girlfriend. Both are there alone: Travis didn’t take his girlfriend, Monica (Britne Oldford), with whom he’s in a rocky relationship; and Ellen’s husband, Henry (Mark Blum), who’s 20 years older than Ellen, is tending to his ailing mother. During a shared cab ride home, they have some harmless banter and light flirting. Ellen gives Travis her business card and after he attends one of her yoga sessions, they go out. A coy kiss from Travis causes Ellen to pause before going along with it. Their relationship–a series of intimate and sexual hotel-room encounters–blossoms into strong feelings and a connection that neither were expecting.
The title — How He Fell in Love — may lead the viewer to think the film is solely Travis’s story. But Meyers disagrees, saying that the title uses Travis as a way into the movie. It also hints at the exploring of “all 3 sides of the love triangle, reflect[ing] about him (Travis) and the husband.” Meyers points out that Ellen, and to a lesser extent, Henry, become mentors for the younger, emotionally less experienced Travis, who at the end of the affair develops the maturity to develop a meaningful relationship with Monica. But as the film goes along, the story is as much Ellen’s, exploring her conflicted emotions as she enjoys her affair with Travis, despite her deep devotion to her husband. Meyers went to great pains to praise Hargreaves’s performance. “Amy showed a wonderful range in where she went. She really fit with Matt.” The shared connection ranks among the most intimate caught in film, and Meyers credits not only Hargreaves and McGorry but also that “we went into hotel rooms and didn’t have to worry about design,” allowing the performers and crew to focus on the performances.
The overall design of the film was intimate, particularly the score, whose minimalism is surprising, considering that one of the lead characters, Travis, is a musician. But the intimacy may have been a lucky accident, as Meyers reasoned that because Travis was “in a creative draught…it didn’t make sense to have a lot of music,” apart from some quiet intermittent music.
As far the new project that Meyers is working on in Ohio? It’s a film adaptation of the graphic novel My Friend Dahmer, about the notorious serial killer. “It’s all still about love. You find it, you have it.” Love seems to be a niche Marc Meyers explores with great precision. It should be an interesting film.